NYCFC’s Pernetti talks stadium, training facility, ticket sales and marketing

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

On the day New York City F.C. celebrated the arrival of Frank Lampard, NYCFC Chief Business Officer Tim Pernetti had his mind on what’s to come.

Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise is set to kickoff March of 2015. Most will set their attention on who lands next on an already impressive four man roster.

For Pernetti, the logistics are just as important. The team will begin play at Yankees Stadium. While sources tell EOS the deal at the location will be “year-to-year,” several other reports claim long-term agreements have been put into place that could see NYCFC play at the stadium for up to three years.

Pernetti said there was “nothing new to report” on their search for a permanent stadium deal. “Same boring answer I gave you guys a while back,” he said. “It’s taking some time but at the same time we want to get it right. We want to take the time necessary to make sure we get it right.”

Meanwhile, a deal for a training facility within the confines of Manhattanville College collapsed. Local opposition took the team and university to court, forcing NYCFC to abandon their plans to renovate Manhattanville’s grounds for their usage. That has left the club scrambling for alternate locations.

“We are still looking at a couple of different options on a training facility,” Pernetti said. “We are not ready to talk about where we are going to go yet. We are trying to get some things ironed out but we expect to have an answer on that pretty soon.”

The club has kept that search quiet. However, Pernetti did say NYCFC is focused on the Westchester area, with possible options of securing a deal with another university.

With all of that said, the club continues their run for season ticket holders. Last week, NYCFC announced 3,000 accounts acquired; an ambiguous tally of season ticket holders that failed to reveal the true amount of tickets sold.

The reason for that is simple. “We are still in deposit mode, so what happens is we know in accounts where we are at, and the number of tickets fluctuate,” Pernetti explained. “People will have a certain amount, add a certain amount, so that number fluctuates, but I think we have been so focused in getting [Lampard] done today. We will have a better handle next week on where we are.”

According to Pernetti, David Villa’s arrival provided a boost in sales, and Lampard’s rumored acquisition has already demonstrated an uptick in interest from fans.

While big names will attract fans, marketing and outreach helps draw casuals. That is the audience both NYCFC and MLS are desperate to reach. To that end, Pernetti and his staff have taken an aggressive and visible approach to their marketing, bombing bus stops, trains, radio stations and magazines with ads promoting their club.

“In New York, it’s such a chaotic market. There are so many other pro sports and aggressive franchises and other things that exist that compete with peoples entertain, even those that aren’t sports related, that I think you have to do the right job to make sir you are present all the time. Not just present to be present,” Pernetti says. “It needs to be targeted. You need to be in front of the right people.

“The deal in New York is if you are not present, you become not so relevant. We are trying to make sure we are communicating who we are, what to expect, what the message is and keeping people’s attention with a lot of milestones along the way.

“[Lampard’s signing] is just one of many that is coming down the road.”

  • Stopher

    Just what you want from your expansion franchises… no stadium plan. That quote about taking time to find the right location sounds eerily like the NE Revs owners.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I don’t think you can say NYCFC’s front office is unmotivated like New England’s.

    • Jonathan Kraft wants them to build a stadium, but it’s his pops who holds the key to the bank vault and he doesn’t really care. NYCFC needs to build and get out of Yankees Stadium pronto or they may end up like the Cosmos with crap attendance.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t blame the people running this, i think they have done a fine job, but how is something like this going to work with no SSS and no big time support from fans. I really don’t think anyone cares, they are going to have to win 3 MLS cups in succession to make a dent. Remember in a league where you get 3 Dp’s & the rest is pretty much fodder your not going to dominate anytime soon.

  • rafael borrero

    I am curious about how they will cover the dirt infield.

    I live in Miami and when the Marlins played in SunLife Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes), whenever they threw sod over the dirt infield it was obvious that it effected the players (since the sod never took root). Also, I can only imagine what they are going to do with the pitcher’s mound, in SunLife it actually can be lowered into the ground.

    Anyone see the matches played here yet? How was the run of play?

  • alex

    I beleive that NYCFC is doing it right, they need to stay in the media amd connect with fans as mucha as possible. Signing Villa and Lampard are good for getting season tickets sold and getting into the news, I am sure they will sign another high profile player within the next couple of months.

    The stadium issue is not simple and unless you live in New York its hard to understand the real issues. There is a ploitical mine filed that needs to be navigated for NYCFC not only do you have to find available land to build a stadium (very hard in a city ) but then you have to get the politians behind, the community and then many of the opportunist interest groups that pop up. The stadium will get built but that will take time possibly more than 3 years. The Ideal spot was in Queens near citi field where you have enough land , great public transportation and access by car, but unfortuantely the politians blew that up.

    Yankee stadium is not ideal but its better than most places they ciould have played in NYC they should draw pretty well since transportation to the stadium is pretty good via subway and auto with plenty of parking.

    A permanent training facility is also an extremly important piece of NYCFC growth hopefully they can find a place where they can build a world class facility where they can train, create an academy and corporate headquaters.

    All these things take time to build and develop specially in a market like NYC , I beleive NYCFC has started in the right direction.

    • Stopher

      I don’t think NYCFC has done anything wrong re: the stadium either. But I think MLS did something wrong by saying “expansion teams must have a SSS plan” and then allowing NYCFC to join without anything close to a plan.

  • george kalergios

    i have a 13 year old male who wants to play on a team where he can be seen by by nyc fc scouts
    which teams should he try out for

  • jjpele

    I still wish something could have been worked out with the Cosmos where they legitimately had the advantage of becoming NY’s main team

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